Euro 2012: Group D – The Final Day

The phrase “you make your own luck” is an overused one and it is perfectly possible to argue that luck, by its very nature, is random. There can be little doubt, however, that England rode theirs in Donetsk last night, scrambling their way to a single goal win which confirmed a slightly unlikely looking top place in their group with a little room to spare. Yet to glance at the final group table only partially tells the story of last nights match against Ukraine. This was a match from which England were highly fortunate to emerge with all three points. Overrun in midfield, the heart leapt to the mouth every time the co-hosts broke away, and this they frequently did with pace and no little verve. Yet all too often they ran dry on ideas when they came within sight of the England goal but despite this still created chances, including one which saw the ball cross the goal-line by several inches. Counter-attacking was the key to coach Oleg Blokhins plans to pick a way through an English defence that was set up with the minimum requirement of protecting the point that they needed to scrape through to the quarter-finals of the competition in mind. Every time they did so, they showed Englands lack of pace and control of the game in the middle third of the pitch up...

Read More